This is a grand event celebrated with great pomp and show in Agra at the end of the Navratras and just before Dussehra or the triumph of Rama over Ravana. The Ram Barat is literally the wedding procession of the four brothers who are the sons of King Dashrath.
The four brothers are Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Bharat and Shatrughana. They are to marry their respective brides with Sita and Uttara marrying Lord Rama and Lakshmana respectively. There is a lot of gaiety and festivities surrounding the entire preparations and proceedings of the procession.
There is a religious and devout fervor as the devotees go about decorating the chariots or silver plated ‘rath’ and the elaborate layout and decorations of the Janakpuri location - the place where the weddings are to take place and from where Sita and the other princesses - will be sent off.
This is one of the biggest annual events celebrated in northern India. The baraat begins from Lala Channomalli ki Biradari and culminates at Janakpuri in Agra slowly and gracefully winding its way through the many streets and by-lanes of the city.
History of Ram Barat Festival in Agra
Although the vivid description of the Barat of Lord Rama has been done in the Ramayana there is ample proof that thebaraat was being held annual since more than one hundred and twenty five years.
It was Lala Kokanmal who initiated the festivities and the auspicious procession from one point to the other. The entire arrangements and their managements has been in the hands of his family ever since.
These days the great grandson, Shri Harikrishal Agarwal is the vice president of the society that has been given the charge for all the preparations of this festival.
Events during Ram Barat Festival in Agra
The wedding procession begins its journey from Mankameshwar Temple of Lord Shiva.
People line both sides of the roads to get a glimpse of the four brothers and the silver-plated chariot. People also come forth in hordes to pull the chariot of the Lord.
On the second day of the baraat the procession reaches the kingdom of King Janak, who is the father of Sita, and has made elaborate arrangements for the entire wedding procession – their stay and comfort are well looked after.
The wedding takes place amidst great pomp and show with the entire population of visitors to the site taking the divine blessings of the couple.
After the sacred rites have been completed the baraat then takes its bidai or formal leave and returns to Mankameshwar Temple.
The Ram Barat Festival of Agra is one of the most amazing and unique festivals that is held on a large scale in northern India.